It’s the most beautiful month of the year again: Ramadan. Although I call it the most beautiful month, I have to admit that there are always the same annoying questions. These questions would obviously not be annoying if they weren’t asked every year. But hey, I do know that it’s not always the same people who ask the same things. And to be honest, I prefer people asking the same questions and actually taking an effort to expand their knowledge rather than people who ask nothing and stand opposed to it. Or worse: they invent their own new stories.
In order to prevent that, I’ve decided to list some of the questions to which nobody often seems to know the answer with 100% certainty.
1. Do you do Ramadan too?
Well, to be completely honest with you: we too -mostly at a young age- have often used this weird sentence to ask who was fasting and who wasn’t. But I’d like to stress that Ramadan is merely the name of the holy month, not a synonym for fasting.
2. So you can’t even have some chewing gum?
Yes, I know, chewing gum is not something you normally swallow, but if you take a look at the back side of the package you’ll notice that chewing gum still provides some nutrients for your body. That’s why even chewing gum isn’t allowed.
3. But you can drink water, can’t you?
No, even water isn’t allowed. Not even if it’s really hot outside.
4. So you don’t eat during the entire day?
We do not eat or drink during the day. Only in the evening, after the evening prayer we are allowed to eat. We can eat until the morning prayer the next day. And this for the entire fasting period.
5. So you are not allowed to eat from sunrise till sunset?
Since our prayer times are always a little after or a little before sunrise and sunset respectively, this isn’t correct. The prayer times have been chosen specifically in order for it to not seem as if Muslims are praying to the sun.
6. Isn’t fasting bad for your health?
For very young children, people with severe health issues, pregnant women and women who breastfeed it is not obligatory to fast. The are given the chance to catch up the days they’ve missed later on. That is not the case with younger children. As for the others, it isn’t unhealthy at all, since food is consumed with in a healthy and responsible way.
7. Don’t you stuff yourselves afterwards?
There will always be people who will let go at night and will stuff themselves with food. There are also many people who will try to eat their nutrients moderately. I can also assure you that you won’t be able to eat as much as you might expect after an entire day of fasting. It’s not because we’re full that we’ve actually eaten a lot.
8. Why is it that you fast?
There are many reasons why we fast. We fast because in that way we are reminded that it is Allah who provides our basic needs and that we are entirely dependent on Him. We also experience what it is like for people who are less fortunate and aren’t always able to eat every day or have no acces to clean water. It also helps strengthening our willpower and brings us closer together, as one community, by sharing our meals together and visiting the mosque together.
9. What happens if you still drink a sip of water by accident?
What happens by accident, does not spoil the day of fasting. Women who have a habit of tasting their food while cooking also don’t violate their fasting.